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The Lament of Anne Hathaway
William Shakespeare bequeathed to his wife Anne Hathaway, his second best bed.
The Lament of Anne Hathaway.
William, my dear,
I fear, my mind
and my heart have admitted
What base notion possessed thee,
to bequeath to me
your dutiful wife,
your second best bed?
no sweet words of farewell to recall.
(Perhaps the unkindest cut of all.)
I note your quote,
‘A young man married is a man that’s marred.’
Was our marriage a calamity?
Did I beg you to marry me?
Where strayed your honesty
the good fellowship in thee?
After all I’ve done for you William.
I gave you all these years,
‘What’s in a name?’ you scoffed,
And so I made it clear,
I would remain Anne Hathaway,
And never lapse
Into - Mrs Shakespeare.
I cast back my reasoning.
Who didn’t gripe
(considering our home,
the place where small experience grows,)
left us - alone
to try your luck in the big smoke?
Did I once remonstrate
when I read you were
comparing someone to a summers day?
And they were more lovely and more temperate
It wasn’t me was it?
And where were you when the kids had the fever
and the roof needed thatching
and I was in debt?
Hobnobbing with the gentry, that’s where?
You owe me William Shakespeare,
let no lies disguise,
that behind every successful man,
stands a woman, strong and wise.
Here’s the rub,
you knew of love
of Romeo and sweet Juliet,
But me, who taught you to adore,
You turned the key and locked the door
So, now you rest,
your last request -
your bones not be disturbed.
Mortality, I will respect.
From grace I will not fall,
Though, I cannot promise, from this earth,
to not disturb your soul
There is no clear evidence that Anne was disappointed in William's will. William Shakespeare is buried within the chancel of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford on Avon with the following inscription/warning -
Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.
Anne Hathaway is buried alongside him.